Simone George: I met Markwhen he was just blind.
I had returned home to live in Dublin
after the odyssey that was my 20s,
educating my interest in human rightsand equality in university,
traveling the world,like my nomad grandmother.
And during a two-year stintworking in Madrid,
dancing many nightstill morning in salsa clubs.
When I met Mark, he asked me to teach him to dance.
And I did.
They were wonderful times,long nights talking,
becoming friendsand eventually falling for each other.
Mark had lost his sight when he was 22,
and the man
that I met eight years later was rebuilding his identity,
the cornerstone of whichwas this incredible spirit
that had taken him to the Gobi Desert,
where he ran six marathons in seven days.
And to marathons at the North Pole, and from Everest Base Camp.
When I asked him what had ledto this high-octane life,
he quoted Nietzsche:
“ He, who has a Why to live,
can bear with almost any How.”
He had come across the quotein a really beautiful book
called”Man’s Search for Meaning,”by Viktor Frankl,
a neurologist and psychiatrist
who survived yearsin a Nazi concentration camp.
Frankl used this Nietzsche quoteto explain to us
that when we can no longer changeour circumstances,
we are challenged to change ourselves.
Mark Pollock: Eventually,I did rebuild my identity,
and the Why for mewas about competing again,
because pursuing successand risking failure
was simply how I felt normal.
And I finished the rebuild
on the 10th anniversaryof losing my sight.
I took part in a 43-day expedition race
地点在地球最冷 最偏远 最有挑战性的地方
in the coldest, most remote,most challenging place on earth.
It was the first race to the South Pole
since Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen set foot in Antarctica, 100 years before.
And putting the demonsof blindness behind me
with every step towards the pole,
it offered me a long-lastingsense of contentment.
As it turned out,I would need that in reserve,
because one year after my return, in,
arguably, the safest place on earth,
a bedroom at a friend’s house,
I fell from a third-story windowonto the concrete below.
I don’t know how it happened.
I think I must have got up to go to the bathroom.
And because I’m blind,
I used to run my hand along the wall
to find my way.
That night, my hand found an open
space where the closed window should have been.
And I cartwheeled out.
My friends who found methought I was dead.
When I got to hospital,
the doctors thought I was going to die,
and when I realizedwhat was happening to me,
I thought that dying might have been…
might have been the best outcome.
And lying in intensive care,
facing the prospectof being blind and paralyzed,
high on morphine, I was trying to make sense
of what was going on.
And one night, lying flat on my back,
I felt for my phone to write a blog,
trying to explain how I should respond.
It was called”Optimist, Realistor Something Else?”
and it drew on the experiencesof Admiral Stockdale,
who was a POW in the Vietnam war.
他遭到监禁 刑罚 长达7年
He was incarcerated, tortured,for over seven years.
His circumstances were bleak,but he survived.
The ones who didn’t survivewere the optimists.
They said,”We’ll be out by Christmas,”
and Christmas would comeand Christmas would go,
and then it would be Christmas again,
当他们没有真的出去时 他们变得很失望 泄气
and when they didn’t get out,they became disappointed, demoralized
and many of them died in their cells.
Stockdale was a realist.
He was inspired by the stoic philosophers,
and he confronted the brutalfacts of his circumstances
while maintaining a faiththat he would prevail in the end.
And in that blog,
I was trying to apply his thinking as a realist
to my increasingly bleak circumstances.
我跌落之后 有好几个月的时间 我心脏感染 肾脏感染
During the many monthsof heart infections and kidney infections
after my fall, at the veryedge of survival,
Simone and I facedthe fundamental question:
How do you resolve the tensionbetween acceptance and hope?
And it’s that that we wantto explore with you now. SG:
After I got the call,
I caught the first flight to England
and arrived into the brightly litintensive care ward,
where Mark was lying naked,just under a sheet,
connected to machinesthat were monitoring if he would live.
I said,”I’m here, Mark.”
And he cried tears he seemed to have saved just for me.
I wanted to gather him in my arms,
but I couldn’t move him,
and so I kissed him the
way you kiss a newborn baby,
terrified of their fragility.
Later that afternoon,
when the bad news had been laid out for us —
头骨破裂 脑出血 可能还有主动脉破裂
fractured skull, bleeds on his brain,a possible torn aorta
and a spine broken in two places,
no movement or feeling below his waist —
Mark said to me,”Come here.
You need to get yourself as far away from this as possible.”
As I tried to process what he was saying,
I was thinking,”What the hellis wrong with you?”
“We can’t do this now.”
So I asked him,”Are you breaking up with me?”
And he said,” Look,
you signed up for the blindness, but not this.”
And I answered,”We don’t even know what this is,
but what I do know is
what I can’t handle right now
is a breakup while someone I loveis in intensive care.”
So I called on my negotiation skills and suggested we make a deal.
I said,” I will stay with you as long
as you need me,
as long as your back needs me.
And when you no longer need me,
then we talk about our relationship.”
Like a contract with the possibilityto renew in six months.
He agreed and I stayed.
In fact, I refused to go home even to pack a bag,
I slept by his bed,
when he could eat, I made all his food,
我们每天都会哭 有时他哭 有时我哭
and we cried, one or other or both
of us together, every day.
I made all the complicated decisionswith the doctors,
I climbed right into that raging river over rapids that was sweeping Mark along.
And at the first bend in that river,
Mark’s surgeon told us
what movement and feeling he does
n’t get back in the first 12 weeks,
he’s unlikely to get back at all. So,
sitting by his bed,I began to research why,
after this period they call spinal shock,
there’s no recovery, there’s no therapy,
there’s no cure, there’s no hope.
And the internet became this portalto a magical other world.
I emailed scientists,
and they broke through paywalls and sent me
their medical journal and science journal articles directly.
I read everything that”Superman” actorChristopher Reeve had achieved,
after a fall from a horse left him paralyzed
from the neck down and ventilated.
Christopher had broken this 12-week spell;
he had regained some movement and feelingyears after his accident.
He dreamed of a worldof empty wheelchairs.
And Christopher and the scientists he worked with fueled us with hope. MP:
You see, spinal cord injury
strikes at the very heart of what it means to be human.
And it had turned me from my upright,standing, running form,
into a seated compromise of myself.
And it’s not just the lackof feeling and movement.
Paralysis also interfereswith the body’s internal systems,
which are designed to keep us alive.
多重感染 神经痛 痉挛 生命的缩短都很常见
Multiple infections, nerve pain,spasms, shortened life spans are common.
And these are the things that exhausteven the most determined
of the 60 million peoplearound the world who are paralyzed.
Over 16 months in hospital,
Simone and I were presentedwith the expert view
that hoping for a cure had provento be psychologically damaging.
It was like the formal medical systemwas canceling hope
in favor of acceptance alone.
But canceling hope ran contraryto everything that we believed in. Yes,
是的 在历史上 一直到这个时点
up to this point in history,
it had proven to be impossible
to find a cure for paralysis,
but history is filled with the kinds
of the impossible made possible
through human endeavor.
The kind of human endeavor that
took explorers to the South Pole
at the start of the last century.
And the kind of human endeavor
that will take adventurers to Mars in the early part of this century.
So we started asking,
“Why can’t that same human endeavorcure paralysis in our lifetime?” SG:
Well, we really believed that it can.
My research taught us
that we needed to remind Mark’s damaged and dormant spinal cord
of its upright, standing, running form,
and we found San Francisco-basedengineers at Ekso Bionics,
who created this robotic exoskeleton that
would allow Mark to stand and walk
in the lab that we startedto build in Dublin.
Mark became the first personto personally own an exo,
and since then, he and the robot have walked over one million steps.
It was bit of an early celebration,
because actually it wasn’t enough,
the robot was doing all of the work,
so we needed to plug Mark in.
So we connectedthe San Francisco engineers
with a true visionary in UCLA,Dr. Reggie Edgerton,
the most beautiful man and his team’s
life work had resulted in a scientific breakthrough.
Using electrical stimulationof the spinal cord,
a number of subjectshave been able to stand,
and because of that,regain some movement and feeling
and most importantly, to regain some of the body’sinternal functions
that are designed to keep us alive and to make that life a pleasure.
Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord,
we think, is the first meaningfultherapy ever for paralyzed people. Now,
of course,the San Francisco engineers
and the scientists in UCLA knew about each other,
knew about each other’s work.
But as so often happens
when we’re busy creatinggroundbreaking scientific research,
they hadn’t quite yet got together.
That seemed to be our job now.
So we created our first collaboration,
and the moment when we combined
the electrical stimulation of Mark’s spinal cord,
as he walked in his robotic exoskeleton,
was like that moment when Iron
Man plugs the mini arc reactor into his chest
and suddenly he and his suitbecome something else altogether. MP:
Simone, my robot and I moved
into the lab at UCLA for three months.
And every day, Reggie and his team
put electrodes onto the skinon my lower back,
pushed electricity into my spinal cordto excite my nervous system,
as I walked in my exo.
And for the first timesince I was paralyzed,
I could feel my legs underneath me.
Not normally —
It wasn’t a normal feeling,but with the stimulator turned on,
upright in my exo,my legs felt substantial.
I could feel the meat of my muscles
on the bones of my legs,
and as I walked,because of the stimulation,
I was able to voluntarily movemy paralyzed legs.
And as I did more,the robot intelligently did less.
My heart rate got a normalrunning, training zone
of 140 to 160 beats per minute,
and my muscles, which hadalmost entirely disappeared,
started to come back.
And during some standard testingthroughout the process,
flat on my back, twelve weeks,
six months and three whole years
12周 6个月 整整3年过了
after I fell out that windowand became paralyzed,
the scientists turned the stimulator on
and I pulled my knee to my chest.
（录像）男子：好 开始 来 来 来 来 很好
(Video) Man: OK, start,go, go, go, go, go. Good,
很好 很好 西：
good, good. SG:
对 对 继续 马克
Yeah, yeah, go on, Mark,
继续 来 来 来
go on, go, go, go,
来 来 哇！
go, go, wow!
Do you know, this week,I’ve been saying to Simone,
if we could forget about the paralysis,
you know, the last few yearshave been incredibly exciting.
the problem is,
we can’t quite forget about the paralysis just yet.
And clearly, we’re not finished,
because when we left
that pilot study and went back to Dublin,
I rolled home in my wheelchair and I
‘m still paralyzed and I’m still blind
and we’re primarily focusingon the paralysis at the moment,
but being at this conference,
of interested if anyone does have a cure for blindness,
we’ll take that as well.
But if you rememberthe blog that I mentioned,
it posed a question of how we should respond,
乐观主义者 现实主义者 或其他？
optimist,realist or something else?
And I think we have come to understand
that the optimists rely on hope alone
and they risk being disappointed and demoralized.
The realists, on the otherhand,
they accept the brutal facts
and they keep hope alive,as well.
The realists have have managed to
resolve the tension between acceptance and hope
by running them in parallel parallel.
And that’s what Simon and I have been trying to do
over the last number of years.
Look, I accept the wheelchair —
I mean,it’s almost impossible not to.
有时 对于我们所失去的 我们会感到悲伤
And we’re sad,sometimes,for what we’ve lost.
I accept that I,and other wheelchair users,
can and do live fulfilling lives,
尽管要承受神经痛 痉挛 感染
despite the nerve pain and the spasms and the infections
and the shortened life spans.
And I accept that it is way more difficult
for people who are paralyzed from the neck down.
For those who rely on ventilators to breathe,
and for those who don’t have access to adequate,
free health care.
so that is why we also hope for another life.
A life where we have created a cure through collaboration.
A cure that we are actively working to release from university labs
around the world
and share with everyone who needs it.
SG: I met Mark when he was just blind.
He asked me to teach him to dance,and I did.
One night,after dance classes,
I turned to say goodnight to him at his front door,
and to his gorgeous guide dog,Larry.
我知道 在我离开之前 关掉公寓内的
I realized that in switching all the lights off in the apartment
before I left,
that I was leaving him in the dark.
I burst into uncontrollable tears
and tried to hide it,
but he knew.
And he hugged me and said,
Your’re back in 1998, when I went blind.
Don’t worry,it turns out OK in the end.”
Acceptance is knowing that grief is a raging river.
And you have to get into it.
Because when you do,it carries you to the next place.
It eventually takes you to open land,
在那里 最终 一切都会没事的
somewhere where it will turn out OK in the end.
And it truly has been a love story,
广阔 丰富 深深满足的那种爱
an expansive,abundant,deeply satisfying kind of love
for our fellow humans and everyone
in this act of creation.
Science is love.
Everyone we’ve met in this field
just wants to get their work from the bench and into people’s lives.
And it’s our job to help them to do that.
Because when we do,we and everyone with us
in this act of creation
will be able to say,
“We did it.
And then we danced.”
SG: Thank you.
MP: Thank you.